Sunday, 18 November 2012


Forthcoming events in the Catalonia Branch

Saturday 19th January– 10:00 – 17:00 – Location TBA
Talk and Presentation on South African Plants in A Mediterranean Garden & Planning Session for 2013
We will watch a DVD on ‘A year in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – South Africa, which will be followed a talk by South African born Plant Guru - Peter Steadman – This will be followed by a 2013 Branch Planning Session and lunch.
If you are interested in attending the above events or have any idea for future events please contact me

Past Events
Saturday 10th November – 10:00 – 16:00
Barcelona Garden Tour
Members were very fortunate to be guided through the gardens by MGS Member Xavier Argimon (Author, Designer and Botanist). As Xavier was responsible for cataloguing the plants in the gardens it was a very in-depth tour of three gardens in Barcelona – Jardins de la Tamarita, Jardins de Palau de les heures Jardins Rodrigo Caro.  

Jardins de la Tamarita
The gardens have many fine features. On entering them, we where greeted by a semicircular pond with little fountains, water plants and two sleepy, terracotta lions, on either side. Behind them is filigree, a semicircular wire fence completely covered by a similarly wire-like climber with tiny green leaves, called Maidenhair vine.
All around La Tamarita we found quiet corners in the shade of hundred-year-old trees, surrounded by plant borders with a little entrance that invites us in to sit a while on a bench. Cool places like the Font de les Granotes, at one end of the garden, a piece of grass to sit for a moment, or places where we can enjoy the scent of flowers.
There are stone, marble and ceramic figures which have been turned into fountains, steps and paving made from slabs of natural rock and, all around the garden, the sober elegance of ornamental, terracotta plant pots, with their geraniums and ferns.
The main way through the garden is a walk watched over by allegorical statues from America, Africa, Asia and Europe. It is reached by paths bordered by dense myrtle neatly cut into geometric patterns and under the shade of tall plane trees.
At the centre of La Tamarita, in the Plaça dels Quatre Continents, the main feature is a fountain. At the top, a waterfall in the form of a grotto made from pumice stone and shells, like those many patios used to have, closes the classic part of the garden.
Next to the house, surrounded by trees and beautifully cut plant borders, there is a very quiet area with grass and benches, descending some semicircular steps, it is worth visiting one of the most charming spots in La Tamarita: the gardenia garden, where the water flowing from a fountain to a little pond in the middle, from where it spreads via small pipes, reminds us of Arab gardens.
The Tamarita Gardens are eclectic. Consequently there landscaped areas with a classical appearance and other more natural, unplanned areas, behind the house.
The wildest part of the garden is reached via a large meadow and slopes towards the stream, Frare Blanc. It is shady, cool with lots of thick undergrowth. You enter via a pergola decorated with climbing plants.
A path lets you walk along the bed of the former stream. Because it is not flat, this part seems much more natural.
In the Tamarita Gardens there are truly exceptional examples trees and shrubs. Climbing, to the right of the central walk through the gardens, at the start of the meadow and behind the sculpture representing Africa, you come across an oak tree, which is more than a hundred years old.
Palau de les Heures Gardens
Up in the Montbau neighbourhood, at the foot of the Collserola hills, stands one of the most singular buildings in Barcelona: the Palau de les Heures, built in the late 19th century. It overlooks gardens whose merit lies both in their beauty and in the richness of the vegetation, including an outstanding collection of trees.
If the house, the Palau de les Heures - with its four round towers crowned by conical points, in the style of French châteaux - is impressive, the view of the gardens from the terrace at the front of the building is frankly majestic.
The whole is of a great harmony, with broad stairs on either side of the 'palace' running down the hillside to successive sections of the gardens. Long ramps between the flights of stairs facilitate access for people with disabilities.
Boston ivy and rose bushes climbing the walls of the terraces adorn the paths, punctuated here and there with large terracotta pots blooming with fragrant geranium with its small, delicate flower.
From the bottom of the gardens, the view is perhaps even more striking than from above: the manor house looms high over the spectacularly landscaped terraces, elegant and inviting.
The south-facing gardens are laid out on terraces, the highest of which is occupied by the house and a smaller garden. The middle and the lowest - which is the largest - are both of greater note in terms of landscaping.
Both are laid out geometrically, with parterres, paths and pools in contrast to the vertical counterpoint of towering palms and the leafiness of, among other trees, large magnolias and enormous horse chestnuts.
All around there are benches for sitting in the shade of the trees or in the sun, especially on the top terrace.
Due to their height, what stand out most in the gardens are the palm trees, especially the Washingtonia robusta with its broad fan-shaped leaves, and the Canary Island palm, topped with majestic crowns. On their own, these palms give the gardens a distinctive character.
Other noble members of the tree family include magnolias, with their spectacular summer flowers, large acacias, bitter orange, olive trees, towering cedars, pines, holm oak and cypresses.
Small round parterres boast roses, while the larger ones - eight in both the lower terraces - contain big trees and palms surrounded by exquisitely trimmed and sculpted hedges.
Throughout October 2012
Gardens in the Mediteranean – Identitities and Idealised Spaces
A series of lectures where organized in Barcelona by Carme Farre – Landscape Gardener.  The lecturers included Joan Maria Roure, M. Jesus Buxo, Louisa Jones and Michel Racine and proved to very worthwhile to a number of our members

September 2012
Visit to Soljardi Fruit Nursery
Jordi Bronsom, one of the owners of Soljardi, gave members a very informative tour around their extensive Vivero.  The Nursery grows and cultivates an extensive catalogue of unusual fruit trees, nut trees and fruit bushes.  Jordi has extensive knowledge and experience in growing and treating fruit trees – which was demonstrated in an informative presentation on pests and diseases.  For further information or ordering of plants contact jordi at www.soljardi or

June 2012
Morning - Mas Bover, IRTA - The visit to Mas Bover was led by Mr. Ignasi Batlle, responsible for the IRTA's subprogramme on Olive, Nuts and Elaiotecnique . After a brief introduction in the office, we took a walk around the collections of pistachio, olive, almond and carob trees.
Afternoon - Visit to Reus. Jordi Ingles, a member of the MGS and responsible for the maintenance of various parks in Reus,  took us around different green zones of the city. (details and photos attached)


May 2012

Visit to Cervantes Rose Garden - Barcelona
Members enjoyed a truly wonderful and informative day at the Cervantes Rose Garden in Barcelona.  Hosted by Anne Neuve-Eglise who was instrumental in the design and restoration of the Rose Garden that started in 1999 and lasted 5 years. We all sat under a shady tree while Anne explained how the garden had been designed, showing us copies of the original design drawings.  Anne explained the classification of the roses in the garden (copy is attached) and took us on a guided tour of the rose garden – along a botanical pathway
There are around ten thousand rose bushes of two thousand different species and varieties - from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America.
There is a big semicircular pergola full of 233 different varieties of climbing roses. There is shade here, with benches to sit and contemplate not only the roses, but also the magnificent views of Barcelona.
The rose beds are orderly and surrounded by grass. Little paths with arches covered in roses invite you to enter. Here there are well cared for and orderly gravel paths, but you can also walk on the grass, to get even closer to the roses.
The entrance by the Avinguda Diagonal is full of roses planted for their wonderful smell. There are 235 varieties, and you don't have to be up close to smell the perfume, the whole air is full of it.
The smell accompanies you for a while as you move on and come to a sculpture of a woman and six olive trees admiring the roses. Nearby, the shade of the lime trees invites you to join them and rest for a while to admire the view.
As a rose enthusiast I have never seen such a wonderful and extensive collection of roses by country, by species and by grower.  We ended the day with a picnic lunch – thanks so much Anne for making the visit so memorable – we will return for sure.

May 2012

Garden Visits to Torre Ronsat and Mas Pica
The day started at Torre Ronsat, which has been beautifully restored by Shaunagh and Crispin Latymer.  Crispin explained the different stages of the restoration project and then took us for a guided tour through their beautiful extensive gardens, which included an olive grove and wildflower garden.  We were able to see some wild orchids including Seraplas Lingua.
We then walked through a wildflower meadow to visit Mas Pica which has been elegantly restored by Giles Money-Coutts.  Giles explained how he had restored the Masia and how he had designed the garden to be mainly drought tolerant.  The garden consisted of a number of rock walled terraces, which had been made from a attractive rock from within the garden.  It will be great to go back to see the garden when it is established as it certainly has been well planned. 
It was a very interesting and enjoyable day thanks to Shaunagh, Crispin and Giles.  The day also raised 57 euro for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Charity – thanks to the members contributions.
May 2012
Wildflower Walk in Montseny
Christopher Witty took us on a truly remarkable guided walk of the area of Montseny. This year proved to be one of the best years ever for wildflowers – the group saw many different wildflowers including many different and unusual orchids. 
Chris’s knowledge of Wildflowers gained from his extensive travels is so interesting – thanks again Chris.  We hope to repeat it next year if Chris is up for it. Although only 8 members attended the event it was an exceptional day.  Chris recommends the following two-wildflower books: 
  • Les Orquidies del Montseny by Meritxell Maymo I Reverter – Published by the Museu de Granollers – Christopher can help with copies if you cannot find
  • Collins ‘The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe’ – Available from Amazon

April 2012

Guided tour of the show gardens at Cultidelta in Amposta
This visit encompassed 125-150 different Mediterranean plant species.   It was an extremely educational visit which ended with a short trip to Els UIlals de Baltassar wetland, which are fresh water surges that create small natural lagoons with specific vegetation made of caladium mariscus and nymphaea alba
PHOTOS 5 & 6
After lunch we visited Raimon Corbero´s experimental garden with its many different trees and plants together with an amazing Wisteria.  We also visited the garden of Raimon’s mother who has created an amazing English garden in the hills of Catalonia, where she grows peonies, and orchids among other things.  We sampled some gourmet pizza and wine made from Raimon’s own vines.  What a lovely end to a great day. 
March 2012
Visit to Can Torres and Talk on Organic Gardening, Companion Gardening & Worldwide Organic Movement
At our visit to Can Torres twenty-eight members enjoyed a very information presentation on the Worldwide Organic Movement given by David Pierson and an enlightening talk on Organic and Companion planting by Karen.  Afterwards two groups toured around Karen and David’s beautiful garden perched high on top of the Gavarras Mountains overlooking Girona.  They have designed both their vegetable and flower garden with precision whilst incorporating their main objectives ‘organic, recycle, sustainability’.  Thanks so much Karen and David.  Photos can be seen on the MGS Catalonia Blog.
PHOTOS 7 & 8


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